Leading Australasian medical software company Best Practice Software was recognised with a major Award at the Bundaberg Regional Chambers of Commerce Business Excellence Awards on Saturday, 26th May. Chief Operating Officer Craig Hodges said it was a great honour for the entire team at Best Practice. “On Saturday evening I had the great honour of accepting the Professional Services Business of the Year Award at the Business Excellence Awards in Bundaberg. Judges determined that Best Practice Software met, in a joint award with a local animal hospital, the criteria of a successful business best engaged with its customers, team, products, and community” Mr Hodges said. “It’s not our systems or products or buildings or large user base in its own right that saw us win – but rather the immense contribution of a team of people, each doing their own important part in the overall picture”. Best Practice was created in 2004 in Bundaberg Queensland, by Dr Frank Pyefinch, who brought users the benefits of a busy and successful career as a respected General Practitioner and more than a decade’s experience as Australasia’s pioneer of medical software development. The company opened its busy Operations Hub in Bundaberg in April 2013 – the most sophisticated “nerve centre” dedicated to Medical Information Technology in the nation – and grew its team into a New Zealand operations centre in Hamilton; a modern support centre in Sydney; and a business centre in Brisbane, Queensland. “We believe that Best Practice combines the best in people, systems and technology to help connect communities with medicine and it’s gratifying to see the panel of judges recognises the work we do and the part we play from our founding base in Bundaberg” Mr Hodges said.
A service issue with Bp VIP.net and VIP Gold customers using Memotxt SMS has been resolved. Earlier this week, customers were not able to send out SMS messages or receive replies. Best Practice Software’s General Manager Customer and Commercial, Janet Whitmore, said the team had been working around the clock to solve the issue. ““The situation has now been resolved and all services are now operational”, Mrs Whitmore said. “Our team is still working to find out the root cause of the issue, but we believe the resolution put in place will avoid this issue from happening in the future”. As a consequence of service restoration, the backlogged messages were sent. “We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused customers and patients”, Mrs Whitmore said. “We will be working with customers individually to identify direct impact and provide further information and assistance where required”, added Mrs Whitmore.
The recent Four Corners’ episode on television discussing the obesity epidemic in Australia, and the burgeoning health-care costs associated, exposed the food, nutrition and health politics in Australia over many years and the powerful grip Big Food has on Australian food and nutrition policy. There have been clear links made for some time between free dietary sugars, sugary drink consumption and obesity. Evidence is strong and growing regarding the effect sugary drink taxes have in driving down consumption and incentivising manufacturers to put less sugar in their products. Taxing sugary drinks is far from the single solution to the obesity or diabetes epidemics, but is a start. The World Health Authority (WHO) recommends adults and children limit their intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake daily. If you are and average-sized adult with a healthy body weight, this translates to about 54 grams of sugar (approximately 12 teaspoons) per day. Free sugars are defined as monosaccharides (glucose) and disaccharides (table sugar), added to food and drinks by the manufacturers, cooks or person. It also applies to sugars present in honey syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates. These sugars are different to those found in whole fruit and vegetables, which do not apply. Sugar added to food and drinks can have different names, all remain sugars: sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, raw sugar, cane sugar, malt extract, fruit juice concentrate, molasses. More than 52% of Australians are estimated to exceed these recommendations, sugars are added to processed foods and pre-packaged foods and drinks. The largest proportion of our free sugar intake comes from sugary drinks (over 50%). Australians consume more sugar-sweetened drinks than Britons who implemented a tax in 2016. Should we introduce a sugar tax, we would join 28 other countries and 7 US cities. Two years after Mexico introduced the tax, sugary drink purchases decreased by 7.6%. One 600ml bottle of sports drink contains 36g or 8 teaspoons of sugar, 600ml of coke contains 64g or 14 teaspoons of added sugar. Sugary drinks are heavily advertised, available everywhere and promoted – they provide large numbers of kilojoules and provide no nutrients. Changes you can make immediately to help reduce your sugar intake while waiting for some policy change include:
- Carry and use a refillable water bottle
- Eat fewer foods with free sugars, reduce sweets such as lollies and chocolates, cakes and biscuits
- Don’t walk down the sugary drink aisle of the supermarket
- Keep sparkling water or home made iced tea in the fridge
- Avoid vending machines
- Make some swaps – swap your cereal for a lower-sugar variety and limit the sugar you add
- Read the labels on food – if there is more than 15g of sugar per 100g, check to see if sugar is one of the main ingredients (it will be listed as one of the first three ingredients on the ingredient panel)
In past years there was a push to get your influenza vaccine done as soon as vaccine was available, usually in early March. Research has demonstrated that protection following vaccination starts to wane after three to four months, explaining the strong recommendations from the Australian health departments and the RACGP to have the vaccination closer to the expected ‘influenza season’. It is possible to track the current influenza notification statistics at immunisationcoalition.org.au. It is important to note that many people do not get tested for influenza and some delays may occur in reporting of confirmed influenza cases, but the statistics that are gathered do provide an understanding of influenza activity across Australia. To the start of 23 April, there have been 11,524 confirmed influenza notifications across Australia. Unfortunately, some pharmacies have not followed advice about timing and have been heavily promoting access to the 2018 influenza vaccine since February. GP surgeries have now all ordered the various influenza vaccine supplies from the Health Department for those entitled to the free vaccine, but supplies have been slow and restricted for most surgeries, causing many people to worry about receiving their vaccine too late, which is not the case (even though the uncertainty about the timing of receiving the supplies is a frustration for both the GP staff and patients). Last year was the worst year on record for cases of influenza, with 248 000 confirmed cases, double the normal hospitalisations, and 1100 influenza-associated deaths. The new strain A(H3) was especially severe for the elderly, with nine out of ten deaths occurring in the over 65 year group. Two ‘super’ vaccines are now available for free to Australians over 65 years of age. These enhanced vaccines have been developed to improve the immunity offered by the vaccine. These vaccines have been available in other countries for many years, but are being introduced in Australia for the first time this year. The influenza viruses circulating change regularly and rapidly. The vaccine helps our immune system catch up with these changes. The current data suggests both influenza A and B strains are circulating at similar levels, including cases of Influenza A (H3N2). Last year’s seasons in Australia and the United States were dominated by A/H3N2 strains, while B/Yamagata viruses predominated in Asia and a mix occurred in Europe. The A(H3N2) strain cause more severe epidemics affecting the entire population and the A(H1N1) tend to cause disease in children and young adults. The effectiveness of the seasonal vaccine varies from 40 to 70%, but last year provided only 33% overall and was not effective against A(H3N2) Despite the lack of full protection, and the possibility of getting the flu despite a vaccination, the seasonal influenza vaccine is the best way to protect against influenza viruses. It is free for at-risk groups when supplies are available and otherwise available from GPs and some pharmacies immediately. Data suggests 56% of Australians don’t intend to get the ‘flu’ shot. Higher vaccination rates contribute to a healthy community. The strains contained in the 2018 routine vaccine : : A(H1N1) : A(H3N2) : B:a B/Phuket : B:a B/Brisbane You cannot get flu from the vaccination, but it is possible to have 1-2 days with muscle aches, headaches and occasionally mild fevers as a side-effect to the vaccination. AusVaxSafety is a national program to monitor the type and rate if reactions to each year’s new influenza vaccine in young children. In the 2017 flu season there were no vaccine-attributable serious events recorded. Dr Lisa Surman, CBD West Medical Centre, Perth, WA Member of Best Practice Software’s Clinical Leadership Advisory Committee “Often patients spend time talking about current medical and social issues, taking valuable time away from dealing with what they have really come in to discuss. One of our solutions is to direct them to news articles on our website written by a doctor in our Practice that outline current issues and offer strategies to manage the problem and links to relevant, reputable websites”.
Best Practice Software has announced free training sessions for the imminent release of Bp Premier Indigo, which is in its final stages of testing with a group of Release Candidates currently putting it through its paces. Free online Bp Masterclasses are now underway and will run through until 7th June. They will take users through improved features to the Software, both across the Clinical and Management modules, including exciting changes to the Reminder screen. Best Practice Software Chief Operating Officer Craig Hodges says there are many new features for users to learn. “We’ve enhanced the functionality of reminders to allow you to write in free text comments and create a Reminder type to group your Reminders together. There’s also added fields to allow for a default interval of days and even changed the Reminder function to allow clinics to differentiate between Clinically Significant and Preventive Health Reminders.” Mr Hodges said. Other major enhancements include the Subpoena Patient Export tool, My Health Record, Patient record import and export, confidential material, Tyro Bulk billing, Improved Medicare workflows, Improved support for Multi-location sites and much more. Register for Bp’s FREE online Bp Premier – Indigo Masterclasses here or email an enquiry to our training team: firstname.lastname@example.org.